Jan. 28, 2010
The 2010 men's track and field team could be the most complete in years. The distance runners will once again lead the way, but the Cardinal should have a threat at the Pac-10 level in almost every event as the program continues to broaden under Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field Edrick Floreal. Last season, Stanford finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and has the talent to improve upon that result this season. "The men's team should compete for the MPSF title and be in contention for a trophy, or at least in the top ten at the NCAA's," said Floreal.
The Cardinal returns a deep group, including veterans Daniel Belch, Ryan Fisicaro and Tyrone McGraw in the 100 and 200 meters. A former national champion as a member of the distance medley relay, Zach Chandy returns in the 400. He is joined by All-American Andrew Dargie and Amaechi Morton. Morton is coming off the 2009 World Championships where he ran in the final of the 4x400 for Nigeria. Despite his strength in the 400, Morton's best event is the 400-meter hurdles where he set the Stanford record and advanced to the NCAA Championships. Durell Coleman adds depth to the hurdlers who will miss All-American and Stanford record holder in the high hurdles, Myles Bradley to graduation. A solid group of freshmen, led by Spencer Chase, should provide an immediate impact, in the sprint/hurdle group.
"Amaechi is stronger, faster and a little more aware of what his body does and what it needs to do to get to the next level," said Floreal. "He should be a big time player on the national level this year."
"In the sprints, we have everyone back and this being Sprint Coach Kyle White's second year, they should understand the system better. We should be much improved and contending for conference points. Spencer Chase should really be an impact guy. That group should do really well."
The Stanford men's distance program continues to be one of the elite in the nation. Despite the loss of NCAA 1,500-meter runner-up Garrett Heath, the Cardinal is again stacked. The Cardinal was ranked No. 1 in the nation for most of the cross-country season and should see that success carry over into the track season. Sophomore Chris Derrick has already earned five All-America honors and after finishing third at the NCAA cross country meet, will be looking for his first NCAA title. He will be a threat from 3,000 to 10,000 meters. Derrick is not alone as a potential high finisher at the NCAA's, however. Elliott Heath has already proven to be a force on the track, and after a big cross country season, could be a podium contender from 1,500 to 5,000 meters. In addition, 2009 All-American at 10,000 meters, Jake Riley will be back and looking to improve upon his eighth-place national finish last season. Other possibilities are Justin Marpole-Bird, who had a breakthrough cross country season and now will return to the track which had been his strength coming into the year. JT Sullivan and Benjamin Johnson return in the steeplechase where they should be nationally completive. Also returning at 800 meters is Dylan Ferris, who gained international experience last summer at the Junior Pan American Games. Once again the Cardinal has a talented group of freshmen that had trouble breaking into the deep lineup in cross country, but could contribute right away on the track.
"With the distance and middle distance runners, Chris Derrick and Elliott Heath are pretty much the leaders of that group," said Floreal. "We also have one of the better groups of freshmen in the country and they all should contribute this year. Maybe not early in the season, but towards the middle and into Pac-10's."
The Cardinal should have its top high jumper in years with the addition of freshman Jules Sharpe. Sharpe could be well over seven feet, something Stanford has not had in recent memory. New pole vault coach Toby Stevenson brings incredible experience at the highest level to the Stanford vaulters. The former Olympic silver medalist Stevenson, will look to help take Casey Roche to the next level.
"Our pole vaulters should improve dramatically," said Floreal. "Casey Roche has showed great improvement so far. Also, Jules Sharpe should be able to make an impact at the NCAA's in the high jump."
Stanford will miss Daniel Schaerer, the Pac-10 Champion and NCAA point scorer in the discus. However, a young and rapidly developing group should be ready to make headway in 2010. Geoffrey Tabor just missed the NCAA's in both the shot put and discus in 2009 and should be ready to make the jump this season. Also returning is Carter Wells, who should be ready to contend in the Pac-10. Joining this group is a group of freshmen that provide the most upside to Stanford throwing in several years.
"Geoff Tabor is back and more motivated than ever," said Floreal. "We have a couple of freshmen who are the biggest guys we have had in a long time. Carter Wells should contribute at the Pac-10 level, but this is a young group."
Corey Dysick is back as the only returning member of the multi-event group. Dysick emerged as a threat in the decathlon in 2009, finishing fifth at the Pac-10 Championships. Joining the group are a pair of freshmen in Darien Bailey and Kevin Cardey, who will provide a bright future for the Cardinal.
"We have a young group, but they may be ready to help a little sooner than we thought," said Floreal. "Both Darien Bailey and Kevin Cardey have made good progress."